How to Help Your Team Achieve More than They Think They Can
Minda Zetlin, Inc. Magazine Online
Reviewed by Michael Vacon, PT
Author Minda Zetlin interviews Dan Schoenbaum, chief executive officer of the software company Redbooth, about his tips and techniques for getting his team to achieve more. Not only is Dan Schoenbaum the CEO of Redbooth, but he is also a former sniper in the Israeli paratrooper force. He relates how the intense training he had when he joined the military has helped him develop some techniques with his team. In his first day in the military, he learned that the culmination would be an 80-mile march with a 50-pound pack on his back. He shares how no one thought it would be possible at first, but after a gradual buildup of intense training it ended up being very attainable.
Overall, he has four simple tips or principles he uses with his employees. Although simple concepts, these can be very helpful in our industry—or any industry for that matter. If you own a private practice, you realize the importance of having to build an efficient team; one that knows how to pull together, multitask, meet sudden deadlines, and still provide a superior product. Here is how Dan Schoenbaum helps his people go beyond their limits:
1. Break it down into manageable steps. He summarizes that having the long vision of your plan is good for your employees, but many people need things broken down into smaller, more digestible steps to keep them from getting overwhelmed. In some cases, you may not know how to break things into smaller steps, but if you share a grand vision with your team, they might actually help come up with smaller, attainable steps to help you get there. He believes that his job is sometimes to be the rudder. While his team is working on the smaller tasks, he is making sure they are staying on the overall course he has set.
2. Rally the troops. Achieving goals, especially grand ones, can be a daunting task. We would like to believe that all our employees are endlessly motivated to succeed at any cost, but the truth is people can lose focus on the big picture when they are “in the weeds.” Schoenbaum relates a situation in which his group was constantly losing contracts to a competitor and how he pulled everyone together for a motivational meeting to get all the departments working together to overcome the competing company. Having a sense of comradery can be vital in situations like this; rather than feeling like you are letting others down, you now realize that you have a supportive team around you.
3. Use rewards—the right way. Schoenbaum is not a big believer in “pay-for-play” where you incentivize a team by offering financial rewards for achieving a goal. He believes that people should be paid appropriately for doing their jobs without constantly dangling the potential of extra money for motivation. He does believe in offering rewards that bring a team together to accomplish a goal. He relates a scenario in which a development team was tasked to come in ahead of deadlines for a project and he offered them a huge party for the whole company if they succeeded. They met the deadline, had the party, and it really showed the team the power of collective effort.
4. Clearly define roles and responsibilities. Schoenbaum believes that not micromanaging a team is important; however, being specific about who owns what responsibility and when specific deadlines or checkpoints are, is vital for success. Overall, he believes that teams are not good at setting goals, roles, and responsibilities; however, a team that has this established from the start has a much better chance of excellent execution. He believes it is the leader’s role to “map out the goals and responsibilities…and then get out of the way.”
Overall, I liked the simplicity of his leadership plan. We all have teams of different sizes, but following these basic principles can help us lead our team to greatness. I know they hit home with me and gave me some great ideas for leading my team into the challenges that certainly face us ahead.The article can be found at: www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/how-tohelp-your-team-achieve-more-than-they-think-they-can.html.